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30. People v Balbar G.R. No. L-20216 and L-20217

November 29, 1967

former case. The accused would be placed in double jeopardy.

MAKALINTAL, J

Hence, the Government interposed the present appeal.

FACTS:

WON the case for direct assault can be sustained.

Aug 20, 1960: Tiburcio Balbar allegedly entered the room where public schoolteacher Ester Gonzales was conducting her classes. Without warning and right after complainant had finished writing on the blackboard, Balbar placed his arms around her and kissed her on the eye.

Shocked, complainant instinctively pushed Balbar away and tried to flee. Balbar brought out his "daga" (a local dagger) and pursued her, catching up with her before she was able to get out of the room. Balbar embraced her again, at the same time holding on to his "daga". They both fell to the floor, as a result of which complainant sustained slight physical injuries.

Gonzales injured her right arm which required 3 to 4 days to heal.

2 informations, one for Direct Assault Upon A Person in Authority and another for Acts of Lasciviousness were filed by the Assistant Provincial Fiscal against defendant before the CFI Batangas.

Balbar filed separate motions to quash, contending that

(a) with respect to Criminal Case for Direct Assault, the information does not

charge a sufficient cause of action and that it charges two offenses in a single

complaint; and

(b) with respect to Criminal Case for Acts of Lasciviousness,

would be placed in double jeopardy and that the complaint charges two offenses."

that the accused

The court a quo issued an order quashing the two informations.

(1) Case for Direct Assault: the offense is designated as direct assault,

nevertheless the main allegations of the information may at most constitute

unjust vexation for the reason that an important element of the crime of direct assault is conspicuously absent in the information. This essential element is the knowledge of the accused that the victim is a person in authority

(2) Case for Acts of Lasciviousness: acts complained already included in the

Held: Yes. Direct assault is committed "by any person or persons who, without a public

uprising,

person in authority or any of his agents, while engaged in the performance of

official duties or on occasion of such performance." (A148, RPC)

shall attack, employ force, or seriously intimidate or resist any

By express provision of law (Com. Act No. 578, now part of A152 of the RPC, as amended by RA. 1978), "teachers, professors, and persons charged with the supervision of public or duly recognized private schools, colleges and universities shall be deemed persons in authority xxx." The lower court, however, dismissed the information on the ground that there is no express allegation in the information that the accused had knowledge that the person attacked was a person in authority. This is clearly erroneous.

Complainant was a teacher. The information sufficiently alleges that the accused knew that fact, since she was in her classroom and engaged in the performance of her duties. He therefore knew that she was a person in authority, as she was so by specific provision of law. It matters not that such knowledge on his part is not expressly alleged, complainant's status as a person in authority being a matter of law and not of fact, ignorance whereof could not excuse non- compliance on his part (Article 3, Civil Code). This article applies to all kinds of domestic laws, whether civil or penal (De Luna vs. Linatoc, 74 Phil. 15) and whether substantive or remedial (Zulueta vs. Zulueta, 1 Phil. 254) for reasons of expediency, policy and necessity.

WON the case for Acts of Lasciviousness can be sustained. Held: No. Different Rationale w/ CFI: upon examination of the events which gave rise to the filing of the 2 informations, the offense of Acts of Lasciviousness does not appear to have been committed at all.

The presence or absence of lewd designs is inferred from the nature of the acts themselves and the environmental circumstances. In the instant case, considering the manner, place and time under which the acts complained of were done, even as alleged in the information itself, lewd designs can hardly be attributed to accused. The factual setting, i.e., a schoolroom in the presence of complainant's students and within hearing distance of her co-teachers, rules out a conclusion that the accused was actuated by a lustful design or purpose or that his conduct was lewd or lascivious. It may be that he did embrace the girl and kiss her but, this of itself would not necessarily bring the case within the provision of Article 336 of the Revised Penal Code.

DECISION: the order of the court a quo quashing the information for Direct Assault is hereby set aside and this case is remanded to the lower court for trial on the merits; with respect to the dismissal of the information for Acts of Lasciviousness, the same is affirmed.